The audience for the latest episode of Top Gear dropped by more than a third, compared with last week’s series debut.
An average of 2.8 million viewers tuned in to the second instalment of the new series on Sunday evening – 1.6 million fewer than the first episode.
Viewing peaked at 3.3 million just before the BBC Two show ended, overnight figures show.
Presenter Chris Evans said viewing figures would be higher when on-demand services were taken into account.
He tweeted: “Overnight television viewing figures for Top Gear have never been less relevant. Obviously some newspapers prefer to live in the past.
“The way Top Gear is being viewed is repositioning the way television is consumed. Last week 9 million viewers. This week we shall see.”
The first episode of this series was watched by an average of 4.4 million when it was first broadcast – 23% of the TV viewing share.
However, when all forms of viewing are taken into account – including people who recorded the programme, watched the repeat or requested the show on a catch-up service such as iPlayer – the launch episode’s audience totalled around 9 million.
Alan Tyler, Acting Controller of BBC Entertainment Commissioning, said: “We are delighted that this was the strongest launch episode of Top Gear since 2010.”
Referring to the show’s second episode, Tyler said: “Chris, Matt and the team once again brilliantly led BBC Two’s biggest show of the day, by some margin.
“It secured a peak audience of 3.3m, and the show again remained the most requested programme on BBC iPlayer.”